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Favorite Trail Area…..Wasted! March 9, 2011

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in trails.
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Michael, Frank and I went out to Granite Basin on Sunday afternoon to enjoy some of the sweetest single track around….or so we thought.

It appears the forest thinning project that the National Forest Service has contracted out has decimated most of trail 349, and part of trail 350.

Trail 349 west of Granite Basin Rd. is almost non-existent.  The bushes are all gone (sort of).  They have been hogged out and shredded.  Bits of brush and branches lay scattered all over the forest floor, including on the trail.  This and the truck and tractor tire depressions left in the soft earth have made the trail disappear.

It is my sincere hope that the Forest Service make sure that the contractor goes back in and restores the trails.  If for some reason that doesn’t happen, there will be a multitude of hikers, bikers and equestrians very, very upset!

After this next weekend, I shall head back out there to see what if any restoration has been performed…….Stay tuned.

The Rim View Trail in Page, AZ February 14, 2011

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I had the opportunity to ride and track the Rim View Trail that circles around most of the town of Page, AZ this weekend, and was not disappointed.

The town itself sits on top of a mesa overlooking Lake Powell, and the Glen Canyon Dam.  The trail, true to its name follows the rim of the mesa, offering fantastic views at every turn.

Aerial of the Rim View Trail

This trail is a fun, slightly technical, single track about 11 miles in length. I say about, because there are several areas where you can choose to take a spur of the trail that either goes closer to the edge of the mesa, or away from the edge, with less exposure to huge drop offs.  There are many places on this trail where the penalty for falling is certain death.

I rode it both directions, and would suggest counterclockwise as the best way, just because of the long downhill on the east side of the airport.  Both ways are great though.  If I lived in Page, I would ride this trail every day!

Prescott Trails are Drying Out….Slowly January 27, 2011

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Rick, Steve, Keith, Dan (a guest rider from Tucson) and I enjoyed a mountain bike ride yesterday afternoon.

We started at the corner of Iron Springs Rd. and Granite Basin Rd. and rode up through Kingswood to the beginning of trail 317.  As we entered Kingswood, I realized that I have left my camelbak in the back of my truck, so I had to hurry back to get it. Doh!  Luckily, the guys waited for me at the trailhead.

As we started the climb up 317 toward the Thumb Butte area, we found several spots in the trail that had not dried out very well, and we a little soft.  Luckily there hadn’t been any horses on it.

When we got to the top where 317 meets 316, we stayed on the 317 and did a clockwise circle that went 317, 315, 386, 316.  Then we headed up the White Rock Trail (318).

Rick, Dan and Keith cleaned all the gnarly rock sections, while Steve and I brought up the rear after not quite making them.  At one point Steve said, “I feel like something is rubbing on my back tire.”  We looked at it and saw that his rear skewer was undone and he was about to have his whole rear wheel fall right out of the frame!

We continued up the White Rock through some spots that still had snow and ice on them to the 332.  On the way down the 332, we had to very large doe mule deer cross right in front of us.  They were big, perhaps with-fawn.

Passing the fireplace, we stayed on the 332 and climbed up towards “The Pines.”  Keith needed to bail, so he took the Fireplace Connector Trail and headed home.  When the 4 of us got to the top, Steve suggested we take the Tatonka Trail.

I love the way Tatonka winds through the boulders and meanders among the pines.  When we got to the Tatonka Connector, we headed down it back toward the part of the 332 that is old railroad bed.

Crossing the 332 at that point, we took the Meadow Trail down toward the creek bottom.  The snow down in the meadow made getting across the creek a challenge!  When we hit the Waterline Trail, we headed down it to the Emmanuel Pines Rd.  and back to our vehicles.

8.75 miles, good company, and as always a great time!

Snow, Rain, and No Ride March 9, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Just Stuff, trails.
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I am so done with winter.

This has been one of the wettest winters on record.  All our lakes are full, the mountains around Prescott are packed with snow, and yet again today it snowed and hailed all damned day.

Our trails turn to something you could throw pottery with when they get soaked, so riding on them is out of the question.

Snow, snow, go away, come again…………in friggin’ December!

Prescott Duathlon Needs Volunteers February 22, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, trails.
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Prescott, Arizona – The Go! Off Road Duathlon is to be held on March 20th, and is in need of volunteers to do a multitude of jobs on and off the course in order to make the race a fun and safe event for all the participants.

The race is in triathlon format, except there is a run in place of the swim, and it all takes place on trails!  It starts with a 1.5 mile trail run, then a 8.2 mile mountain bike ride, followed by a 2.2 mile trail run.

If you would like to volunteer for this event, please visit the link above to visit the race site.

GORD Course is in Good Shape February 10, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, trails.
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Several of us went out and rode the course for the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon or GORD this last weekend.

The first running leg is 1.5 miles. The first third of that leg is on wide track trail that is part of the Brownlow Trail system in Pioneer Park.  The other two-thirds is on single track trail that winds through the pinon, juniper and scrub oak trees.

The second leg of the race is he mountain 8.1 mile mountain biking leg.  It too incorporates wide track and single track, but it is no walk in the park, it has about 900′ of climbing and some challenging twisty single track on the north end of the park.

The final leg of the GORD is another trail running leg of 2.2 miles.  It starts out on single track, and ends with almost a mile of the wide track trail to allow racers to not have to concentrate so much on foot placement, but just let the dogs run.

There has been a lot of rain and snow here in the last month, so we didn’t know what kind of shape the trails would be in.  To our pleasant surprise, the single track is in as good a shape as I have ever seen it.  Some sections of the wide track are going to need some dragging, there are some places where the water washed a bunch of sand down over it, and a few fairly deep ruts.

With the race still five weeks away, I will be riding it many more times.

Group Ride on the BCT February 7, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Last Saturday a bunch of us from Prescott drove down from our snow covered enclave to warmer and dryer pastures.

We met at the Table Mesa trailhead on the Black Canyon Trail (BCT) to do an out and back to the south toward the Emery Henderson trailhead on New River Road.

By the time everyone arrived, the twenty or so riders we expected had ballooned by word of mouth to thirty four!

This was one HUGE group ride!

The rains the week before had left the trail a perfect tackiness, and we had some cloud cover as we climbed about 600′ over the first 2 miles or so.

The group naturally split up into various smaller groups, with the hammer-heads out front, and us intermediates in the middle and some of the more tentative or less experienced in the back.

Everyone re-grouped at the big saddle and headed down across the Doe Spring access road and on toward the top end of the Boy Scout Loop.

We regrouped again at the north side of a climb over a saddle just before the trail junction at Boy Scout Loop.  Here, about half of us decided to go ahead and do the loop, while the rest chose to head back to the north.

We climbed up and over the saddle, descended a fairly technical section of narrow single track, and found ourselves at the trail junction.  We decided to do the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.   I had my GoPro Hero video camera mounted on my bars, and took this video of this section.  Of course by the time I figured out how to turn it on, I was on the trail alone.

The day ended up being perfect for riding, temp about 60°F and the sun came out for the second half of the ride.

We did about 14 miles that day, no one got hurt, and all 34 riders had a great day on the bike!

9 Miles on a Mountain Bike October 23, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I just got back from an afternoon ride.  I am not a fan of riding alone, so I went to Pioneer Park to ride some of the single track in the Brownlow Trail system thinking that if something happened and I needed assistance that someone would be close by and I could get their attention. According to my bike computer, the temperature when I started riding was 71°….perfect!

The 3 mile loop that rode was about 2.5 miles of single track and the other half a mile of the Brownlow wide track.  It was so much fun, that I decided to just continue to ride the same loop.  In the 9 miles that I managed to put in before it was getting dark, I only saw 4 people on the trails.

New Trail 317 September 3, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I just got back from an evening ride with Hal, Steve, and Robert that included a new trail that just opened this week.  Trail 317

We started out in The Pines, and then took 332 from the Fireplace up to where White Rock Trail crosses it.  From here we headed east on White Rock and followed it past the junction with that knarly Fireplace Connector Trail and on down toward the Thumb Butte Park.  When we hit the next intersection, we took a left as if we were going to go down the Longs Canyon Trail, but instead, took a left onto the brand new Trail 317 (no local name yet).

This new trail is a real blast!  It follows the contours and very slowly descends along the west side of Longs Canyon, then tops the ridge and takes a more westerly heading down into the Kingswood subdivision, where it comes out at the very top end of Windy Walk Lane.  The trail is very well routed, and has a nice flow to it.  Sure, right now it has all the choppiness that new trails have due to the cutting with McLeods, but soon with just a few weeks of use, it will be fantastic!  It also offers up some wonderful views north of Granite Mountain and the San Francisco Peaks.

I highly recommend this new trail to mountain bikers of intermediate skill level, and hikers of all levels (well, except you Bodine……you know why!)

The Lakeshore Trail August 13, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Steve and I decided to go try out the new Lakeshore Trail at Watson Lake.

It takes off of the Peavine Trail at mile marker 1, and meanders through the giant rocks that are the Granite Dells of Prescott.

We soon found out that this trail is highly technical, and (for us anyway), involves as much hike-a-bike as it does riding.  There are some really fun sections where you ride right up and over some of the large granite formations, but there are also some places that are more suitable for a trial specialist.

Steve rides down a granite face.

Steve rides down a granite face.

The afternoon was perfect, as the temperatures had dropped to about 80°, and the sun was low in the West.  Chris at the City of Prescott had done a lot of work to make this trail a reality, and we enjoyed exploring it.

Dave crossing one of the smooth granite creek bottoms.

Dave crossing one of the smooth granite creek bottoms.

The trail took us out into and amongst the towering orange granite boulders.

Doing my best trials rider impression.

Doing my best trials rider impression.

There were several places that required maintaining a narrow line along a ridge of granite, and because I don’t usually ride super technical stuff, I found it pretty difficult, and sometimes scary.  This photo is the close up of the one above.

Steve noted that it was very hard to get into any kind of a rythm, because the terrain was so choppy that it was hard to get a flow going.

This trail was fun to go try, but really wasn’t my cup o’ tea for a couple of reasons.  First, I am a whimp when it comes to stuff that looks like I may break a bone or two (this has to do with the required recovery time and medical bills), and Secondly, I prefer a ride that keeps the cardio going and isn’t stop and start.

I am sure that there are some studly riders out there that can ride this whole trail in one shot, I am just not one of them!

For those of you that think that Willow Dells is too easy, or has been dumbed down for us whimpy riders, come try this one on for size!

Steve and Me on the Lakeshore Trail

Steve and Me on the Lakeshore Trail

The 2009 Whiskey Off Road April 27, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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The 50 milers had gone off an hour before the 300 of us stacked up behind the starting line for the 25 Proof.  There we were, facing into a strong headwind, ready to tackle the 28 miles and nearly 4000′ of climbing that lay ahead.

The Start

The Start

I spent the first mile or so working my way through the huge group of riders, until there were probably only 50 or 60 ahead of me.  On the way up Copper Basin Rd. there was probably an equal number of those I passed and those who passed me, all battling the headwind and the hill. When we got to the steeps toward the end of the pavement, I worked hard to get up them and passed about 10 or 15 while I only had a group of 5 single speeders and a couple of others go by me.

I caught up to a big group in Camp Perlstein, and then promptly threw my chain of the inside of my front derailleur and watched 10 riders go by as I put the chain back on the ring.  At the start of the 393 singletrack, there was a line of about 30 all bottlenecked up.  While most waited patiently, knowing that there was no place to go, a couple were yelling and trying to ride by everyone else.  Like the one guy behind me said, “That guy is worried that he might only get 200th place instead of 195th!”

First singletrack above Camp Perlstein

First singletrack above Camp Perlstein

Once we were all actually on the 393, it worked itself out and we were all riding along at a good pace, until slannnng!..there went my chain onto bottom bracket again!  Dang!  Another 5 or 6 riders passed while I got my chain back on.  At the Aspen Creek trailhead there was an awesome group of spectators and volunteers yelling and cheering us all onward and upward.

I climbed the new section of trail 48 “Rob’s hill”, and I have to admit that though it adds half a mile to the length of the course, it is much nicer than doing the hike-a-bike from hell that we used to do.  I had a couple of guys go past me on the wide track section at the top, and then caught up with some more riders at the first set of water bars.  No point in trying to pass them, as they were riding about the same speed that I was, and there were 6 or 7 in the group.  After the first section of downhill water bars (there are about 8 of the 1 or 2 ‘ drops in a row), I noticed we were spread out again, and that there was no one close behind me.  The traverse across the backside of Mt. Francis was smooth sailing, but we bunched up again on the last climb.  Many people walked the majority of this section, as passing one rider really accomplished nothing.

As I pushed my bike to the top, I unclamped the seat post and lowered it for the upcoming descent.  I passed 2 riders right away, and then came up on another and told him I would come by on the next available wider section.  I started by and said, “On the left!”, but he moved to the left, and I had to swerve to avoid a collision, and went off trail into and through a bush, but managed to keep moving.  We came to the first steep downhill and I stayed right behind him, not wanting another miscommunication mishap.  On the last big drop at the bottom, he almost went over the bars, and I took that opportunity to go by him.

The 260 was a wicked combination of trail that had been powdered by all the 50 milers and sharp jagged rocks strewn haphazardly, this all on a super fast descent down a steep jeep trail.  There were people all over the place, some with flat tires, some climbing back up onto the trail with their bikes after who knows what sent them over the edge, and one poor guy trying to figure out what to do with a rear derailleur hanging only by its cable.  At one point, I had a guy pass me, and then watched as he bounced off the rocks and right onto the brink of a steep exposure, his feet off the pedals, front wheel swerving all over the place, and somehow he managed to veer back onto the trail instead of sailing off the cliff.  I yelled, “Nice save!”, and he replied, “Holy #$%@, that was close!”

At the bottom, I stopped long enough to raise my seat back up and take a shot of Hammer Gel, then started the climb up the bottom of the canyon toward Aid Station 1.  Part way up, I once again threw a chain…arrgh! Other than the frustration of that, I was feeling pretty good, and kept an even pace until just about 400 yards short of the Aid Station.  I got off and pushed up the nastiest and steepest part, then got back on and rode the last 200 yards.

In my opinion, the toughest part of this entire ride is this next seemingly unending climb up to Thumb Butte Rd.  Halfway up, I started to feel the beginnings of a cramp in my left quad, so I slowed down tried to spin it out…no go.  So I got off and walked for a few minutes until it went away.  Then back on the bike and up, up and up all the way to the Sierra Prieta overlook.  Wow!, the group of spectators and volunteers here was fantastic, it was a great feeling to have just suffered through all that climbing, and have people there helping you celebrate and cheering you on.

I turned onto the singletrack and headed for town.

Looking Down the Rock Garden

Looking Down the Rock Garden

I had one guy go past me early on, but then passed 2 riders before the first steep at turkey track, where there was a guy stopped right in the middle of the hill, in the middle of the trail, changing a tire!  In the next mile of bombing down the ridgeline over lots of loose and jagged rocks, I saw 3 or 4 more people stopped with tire problems, and yet another stopped right in the middle of trail, his bike upside down, working on a flat!!  I had to go around him into a pile of babyheads at breakneck speed, and was lucky to stay on my bike.  At the rock garden, I caught up to 3 riders who were picking their way

Part of the Rock Garden

Part of the Rock Garden

down it with their rear brakes locked up, just skidding down it…..so I just picked a line that allowed me to roll off the steep having just passed all 3 of them.

On the 51, I was big ringing it…just flying past people.  I went past one guy, just before that off camber turn to the left, and soon discovered that the pass had taken me outside of my intended line and that I was carrying too much speed to hold the corner….and there in my way was a big downed tree!  I hammered on the brakes and laid the bike down, scraping up my knee, and breaking my bike computer, but probably saving a taco-ed wheel and an over-the-bars excursion.  I hopped up and was on my way again, pushing hard in the big ring.  Toward the end of the 51, I could feel cramps creeping back into not only both quads now, but my hamstrings as well.  I have been drinking lots of water, and electrolytes….what the heck???

On the 321 singletrack, I had 2 riders pass me, and I passed 4 who were stopped at various points along the short exposed trail.  Then came the dreaded climb up the 323.  I call it “Hell’s Hollow”, because it is tough, and climbs up and out of a little meadow.  It is less than half a mile, but it is loose rock on a steep climb in full sunshine, 20 miles into the ride…..the perfect recipe for big-time suffering.  I rode part, walked part, cramping here and there along the way.  Right after the hill, I got back on and started riding only to have both my legs absolutely lock up.  Both legs had hamstring and quad cramps at the same time!!  All I could do was sit at the side of the trail in agony, while a whole stream of passing riders kindly asked if I was okay.  After 5 or 6 minutes, they subsided enough for me to try again.  I managed to limp along at about 5 mph to the top of the 392 Garden Grove trail.

One of the switchbacks at Garden Grove

One of the switchbacks at Garden Grove

This is one of my favorite sections of trail, so somehow I left my cramps behind and flew down the switchbacks, passing several riders who had slowed way down or stopped to negotiate the 4 hairpin corners.  Out on the wider part the follows the canyon floor, I saw a guy 2 riders ahead of me go down hard, and his bike cartwheeled down the trail.  The guy ahead of me stopped to help, and I asked him if he was okay when I got there.  He said, “I think so,”  so I continued on down.  I caught up to some more riders and someone caught me from behind soon after we were on the section that parallels Thumb Butte Rd.  There were a number of small bottlenecks at some of the more technical sections of this rocky trail, but nothing that was much of a delay at all.

I popped out onto Thumb Butte Road, and shifted into the big ring again.  Two riders came out behind me and one shouted, “Let’s go guys!” as they went by, I tried to jump onto their wheel, but my hamstrings said “Nuh-uh!!” and I soft pedaled as I watched them dissapear ahead of me.  I finally got up to speed, and held a good pace down the hill, despite the fact that there now seemed to be a headwind in this direction too!  How could that be?? .  Near the bottom, where it takes a big sweeping left hand turn, I saw my granddaughter and her mom standing my the side of the road looking for me…I waved and yelled to them as Haley yelled, “Go Grampy!!”  This gave me a boost, and I caught another rider just before the light at Gail Gardner.  I sat in behind him for a few seconds, knowing that the race director had switched part of the course back to one last climb up Park Ave. instead of taking Summit like last year.  After coasting behind for a little rest, I went around thinking I could pull for a minute, but he dropped off and I was alone as I turned onto Park.  When I made the turn onto Glenwood, I shifted into my tallest gear and accelerated.  I was going 30+ mph as I swung wide onto Goodwin, and kept grinding toward the finish line.

Finishing the 2009 Whiskey Off Road

Finishing the 2009 Whiskey Off Road

I could hear the voices of people I know cheering as I entered the chute, and finally rolled across the line 3 hours and 31 minutes after the start.

This year’s course was longer than those of previous years, so I couldn’t really compare times.  That being said, I was still 19 minutes faster than last year, and came within 1 minute of my goal of 3:30.  I finished 18th out of 61 finishers in my age division.

It was a great day, and top it off, I didn’t even throw up afterward this year!

Riding not Writing April 18, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I have been doing quite a bit of mountain biking this week, and conversly have not been doing much writing on this blog.

Short recap, with some photos to be posted soon:

Thursday evening, Kent and I braved the super cold and windy weather to ride out behind Thumb Butte.  It was snowing on us at one point!  My front tire threw a rock that went into my rear spokes, and broke yet another of them.  Another trip the the bike shop for repairs.

Whiskey Off Road Newbie Jennifer and I rode two loops of the Camp Perlstein/393 /Copper Basin Rd. from the Aspen Creek trail head on Friday afternoon.  She did much better on the switchbacks the second time, and will do just fine in the Whiskey 15.

Saturday morning, I met up with Jonea who was up here from Phoenix to pre-ride the Whiskey 15.  We rode the 19.5 miles and 2500′ of climbing that is called the 15 mile “fun” ride.  The trails are in pretty good shape, with lots of water crossings because of the spring storms we have had.  I am sure she will do fine on the 15 next week too.

Saturday night, Jonea and I went and did some night riding on the single track trails out at Pioneer Park / Brownlow Trail.  Man, it is a whole different world riding at night, talk about tunnel vision!

Wednesday Night and Whiskey April 9, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking.
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Wednesday evening, Kent and I rode from Thumb Butte up the road (5.7 miles of UP!) to the Skull Valley overlook, then followed the last part of the Whiskey Off Road course back down to the truck.

The ride up was tough.  My legs were already feeling a bit sore (could be a combination of so much riding lately and volleyball on Monday night), and on top of that, we were riding right into a very stiff and cold wind.  We saw a group of 5 mule deer cross in front of us about 4 miles in. We made it to the overlook in 45 minutes, and then took the single track to the east.

The single track still has lots of loose sand and big rocks in it.  Maybe it had a tough winter, or horses have been on it or something, because it is rough.  I kicked some rocks and branches out of the way on the way down in an effort to make it a little more friendly.

When the single track opens up along a ridge into a two track, there is a big pine tree leaning over across the trail.  It is not down on it yet, but it looks like it could come down at any time.  This is on the trail I recently dubbed Turkey Track, because of wild turkeys roosting nearby.

At the bottom of Turkey Track, the Rock Garden Trail starts.  The upper part of this is a two track, and is currently pretty rough.  Lots of loose and sharp rock that takes your front wheel wherever it wants too.  There will be some bloodletting in this section on race day, I guarantee it!

When you actually get to the Rock Garden, it has been cleaned up pretty nicely now. It is nowhere near as bad as it was even on Sunday.  After the Rock Garden, the rest of the trails are in pretty nice shape.  We saw another group of deer right next to the 321, they acted like they didn’t even care that we were there. Someone has even come in and cut the huge tree out of the way that was down on the bottom of the Garden Grove trail.  There are still 4 wet crossings on that trail however.

The Miller Creek trail was in good shape. That is, as good a shape as it probably can be, with all the unmovable rocks that are in the middle of the trail as it snakes along the creek toward Thumb Butte Park. 3 wet crossings here.

We finished up just before dark, both hot from the ride, and cold from the evap cooling supplied by the strong winds.  12.4 miles, and my hamstrings feel like they are about to pop…

Riding until Dusk April 2, 2009

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On Wednesday evening after work, Jack, Kent Toby and I rode the long grind (5.7 miles) up Thumb Butte Rd. to the overlook.  My legs were still sore from the Adventure Race on Saturday, but I didn’t know it until I started to climb….ow! We got to the Skull Valley overlook just in time to enjoy an awesome sunset.

From there we rode the descent that the Wiskey Off Road mtb race takes.  The trail 368 single track heads west up the hill from the overlook, then goes NE.  There was a dead tree down across it right at the one pretty wicked drop that is on it, so now the trail goes around and avoids the drop.  This trail is pretty chewed up and in worse condition than I remember from last year’s race. There was another tree down across it just before it becomes a wider track, and Toby and I managed to pull the tree aside while we waited for Jack.  Just before turn onto the 9401J (Rock Garden Trail), there is a pretty knarly section of downhill ruts and loose rock and gravel.  I followed Toby’s line down, and we stopped just past the bottom to wait for Kent and Jack.  We could hear Kent giving some direction to Jack near the top, and then we saw Kent coming down it.  Right at the bottom, there is a deep sandy area, and when Kent hit it, he must have been just a little on his front brake, because his front tire slid out to the left, and he couldn’t stay on top of it.  He fell off to the right, landing on his right upper chest and his head and rolling over once from there.  His bike cartwheeled over the top of him, and he ended up in a sitting position beneath a cloud of dust.  We went back to make sure he was okay, and saw that his helmet had done it’s job incredibly well.  He had left a furrow in the ground about a foot wide and 2 feet long that had been dug with his front right side of his helmet!  His face was dirty, and his eyes were full of dust, but he was okay.

We continued down the Rock Garden Trail (which is named after the last pitch on it), fast and furious.  This part of the trail is a two-track that goes down a ridge, and is filled with lots of loose and sharp rock the size of golf balls and racquetballs.  We stopped at the top of the aforementioned Rock Garden to tell Jack about it a little bit, and for Kent to re0tell the story of  “the fat guy” who literally flew past him in the race on this section a couple of years ago.  The Rock Garden was a mess!  It has been chewed to pieces by ATVs or Jeeps or something…..There is no real line down it now, it is just filled with babyheads and boulders with a few truckloads of loose, sharp rock thrown in.  It is steep and full of obsticles that try to stop your front wheel.  Jack found this out, as at one point he was actually riding a nose wheelie, but somehow saved it.

The next turn is onto the 51 and you can usually just bomb it, but we were a little more tentative this time because we weren’t sure what we would find.  Sure enough, coming around an off camber corner, suddenly there was a giant pine tree down and sticking halfway into the track!  The 51 is also in worse shape than I recall.

At the bottom of the 51 we realized we were running out of daylight, so we circumvented part of the Whiskey route to save time.  We rejoined the Whiskey route at the top of the Garden Grove Trail (392).  This section of the trail was in really good shape and was fast and a ton of fun.  There was water in the creek, so we got a little wet at the several crossings.  At one of the crossings, there is a huge dead tree blocking the trail completely.

We popped out onto Thumb Butte Road instead of taking the Miller Creek Trail (362) because it was getting very dark.  We cruise back down to the cars, and left in total darkness.

It was a great ride, and one that we will be doing many times before the Whiskey to get used to the trail, and to condition for the climbing.

The Rim View Trail in Page, AZ March 3, 2009

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This weekend Tracie and I went up to Page to my brother-in-law’s to attend his wedding.

On the morning of the wedding, Justin said he wanted to take a short ride to clear his head, so, despite the cold, we headed out just as the sun was coming up.

rimview-trailhead

The whole trail is about a 12 mile loop, but we only rode a little less than half of it, as his wedding was at 10:00am.  The white line is the trail that circles the edge of the mesa that the city of Page sits atop of.

Justin and me at the most northeast part of the trail with Lake Powel in the background

Justin and me at the most northeast part of the trail with Lake Powel in the background

The part of the trail that we rode was fun and fast for the most part, with some drops that you could take or ride around.  There are some places that have a lot of exposure and it is prudent to maintain control of your bike unless you want to plunge off a cliff.

Justin on the Rim View Trail

Justin on the Rim View Trail

That is one huge house up there, sitting on about 10 acres all by itself with 360° views…sweet!

Justin on the trail

Justin on the trail

Well, we did about 6 miles and made it back in time for him to get ready and get to the church on time, and without any trail gashes too!

Next time I go back up, I will definitely take my bike again and ride the whole loop…maybe twice!

We Three on Thumper Trail February 23, 2009

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On Sunday afternoon Mike and I drove over to Cottonwood and met up with Rob and his wife Susie at Dead Horse Ranch State Park so we could ride the Thumper Trail.

Susie decided she didn’t want to ride the loop, and instead she was going to ride the many trials that stayed near the park.

So the three of us started up the Raptor Trail toward Evil Hill.  What’s so evil you ask?  Well it is very steep, but it is also filled with loose dirt and baby heads….none of us cleaned it.  Once we were by that, we continued up Raptor on a bunch of short climbs, each followed by a long nearly level section (repeat as necessary).  Three miles up, we came to the intersection with Thumper Trail, and I took the time for a group photo.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

None of us had ever been on these trails before, so we only knew what we had read about them, so we started down Thumper Trail a little cautiously, definitely not slowly, but we weren’t bombing it either.  It started out with a bunch of short drops (a foot or two) and then we came upon a gnarly section with several drops in a row.

The first section of gnarly drops.

The first section of gnarly drops.

There is one nice drop at the top that has a smooth landing area that you can’t see in this photo, but here is a shot of Rob going off of it.

Rob takes one of the drops.

Rob takes one of the drops.

I don’t have much in the way of suicidal tendencies, so I walked down this section.

The Thumper Trail drops into a couple of canyons and then climbs back out to the top of a ridge again, then turns to the SW and back towards the park.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

There were drops scattered along this entire trail, and most were ridable even by me.  Soon enough we came to another gnarly section that the self preservationist in me decided would be better to walk.  Rob on the other hand rode it (he is a little crazy).

The second big section of multiple drops.

The second big section of multiple drops.

A few yards after this there was another 3′ drop and then we met Susie riding up the other way.  She said the trail below was pretty rocky.  We road a flat and fast section until we met with the Lime Kiln Trail.  There were a few drops and rocky steeps on that trail too, but we rode them all.  We had heard that there was one last big drop at the bottom, but somehow we missed it when the trail split just before we got back to the park.

At that point we decided to take another lap and figured that if we rode one of the park trails up around the camping loop, we could miss the dreaded Evil Hill.  That done, we called our spouses to let them know that we would be a little longer than planned because we were going to loop it again.

A lady stopped us and said she had lost her cell phone on the trail and could we look for it.  We said we would and headed back up the climbs-and-flats section of Raptor Trail.  When we crossed one of the fences, Rob heard a phone ringing, and presto….there was the lady’s phone!

We made another loop just like the first one, except now we rode it a little faster.  I still didn’t ride those gnarly multiple drop sections though.  We met Susie back at the cars, and a quick check of the odometer showed we had done 15.3 miles in 1hr 42mins. of riding time.

That is one very fun trail, but I sure wouldn’t want to ride it after a long dry spell, as it would be very sandy in spots.  A couple of days after a rain would be ideal I think.

Wandering Through The Pines February 9, 2009

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On Saturday afternoon just before the snow storm came in, Tim and I managed to get out in The Pines for a couple of hours.

It was really a great ride, for those of you who know the names that we use, we rode up the waterline trail to the meadow trail then crossed the railroad bed and followed the green bottle connector then up the jawbone trail.  We took top half of dinner hill to where is connects with an unnamed trail then followed that to another single track that goes southeast to the powerline.  From there, we followed a new (to us) trail east-north-east to a obliterated trail that led up to the flat intersection above the fireplace.  We then followed dinner hill trail (cleaned it!) up to lee’s trail.  Then totonka to fallen tree trail to the tunnel connector to the garden of eden then off to the east on a yet to be named trail that eventually kicked us out on south side of the bottom of bobsled.  You got all that??

Anyway, it was about 7 miles and lots of fun single track. I am so glad we got out when we did, because it has been snowing since!

Hard Core Not-Quite-Slick Rock in Prescott February 8, 2009

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Check out this helmet cam video by Ken Bennett.  It is of the hiking / biking trail that has been constructed at Willow Lake.

Riding the Firebird Prototype in Prescott

This is rowdy stuff, I have been on it on foot, but have not had my bike out there yet.

Friday Evening on White Rock February 7, 2009

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Except it is green now!  The white rock at the top of White Rock Trail has been painted green, so now what??? Change the name to Green Rock Trail? Nope. Call it Chamelion Trail? Nope.

Kent and I rode up Thumb Butte Road from just west of the park to the top end of White Rock Trail.  Then we took WRT back down to the park and back to the truck.  It was a quick ride (29min. riding time) but fun!  That was all we really had time for anyway, as it was getting dark.

The top end of WRT is in great shape, and the bottom more rocky end it just….more rocky!

Shocked in The Pines February 4, 2009

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Or shockless I should say.  Hal and I went for a ride in The Pines this afternoon, and I discovered that my rear shock is either leaky or broken!

I will take it to the LBS tomorrow to see what gives.  I am hoping that they can just put new seals in it for me and I will be good to go.

Despite having my full suspension bike ride like a hardtail today, we had a good ride anyway.  Me a fellow named Lee out on the trails, and he pointed us to a little section of single track that I will dub the Lee’s Way.

Black Canyon Trail January 31, 2009

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Eight of us drove down to Black Canyon City today to ride the Black Canyon Trail.  We were joined by my friends from Phoenix, Rick and Bryan.

There were really 10 of us, but Bryan is taking the photo

There were really 10 of us, but Bryan is taking the photo

It was a perfect day, and the desert was beautiful.  We rode an out and back on the trail of a little over 7.4 miles one way.  We had to cross the running Agua Fria twice.  The trail is very narrow in parts and has a lot of up and down with some very tight corners and some pretty crazy exposure.  It worked us (I guess I should speak for myself) pretty hard.  In the almost 15 miles we had a total elevation gain of over 2000′.

In the photo left to right: Me, Tim, Ken, Cliff (his first ride with us), Ray, Hal, Rob, Rick and Shawn.  And because I couldn’t get the camera to balance on this one little log, Bryan is taking the photo.

bct-sign

Me climbing back up from the river.

Me climbing back up from the river.

Tim cruises by

Tim cruises by

Rick rides a narrow section of side-hill trail

Rick rides a narrow section of side-hill trail

Ken above the river

Ken above the river

Cliff ready to bomb the downhill
Ray isn't bothered by the exposure on his left

Ray isn't bothered by the exposure on his left

Cliff ready to bomb the downhill

Hal cranks up a hill

Hal cranks up a hill
Rob thinks I have a gun not a camera!

Rob thinks I have a gun not a camera!

Shawn with the river in the background

Shawn with the river in the background

Bryan is starting down toward the river

Bryan is starting down toward the river

Keep the Hooves out of the Mud! January 30, 2009

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Bob called me today to see if I wanted to get in a quick afternoon ride……..gee, let me think……

We rode from his house to Pioneer Park and burned through about 15 miles of trail.  I punished myself on the steep ups, but somehow survived.

There have been horses on the Legacy trail while it was muddy again…dang them!!  They tear the crud out of what is usually pretty nice single track.  It kills me that horses and hikers complain about bikes damaging the trails….clearly, horses are the most destructive force on a trail.  Sorry, just had to vent a bit.

Nice Ride in Granite Basin January 26, 2009

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Sunday afternoon was cold and windy, not exactly perfect conditions, but it didn’t stop four of us from spending some time in Granite Basin on our mountain bikes.

Hal, Rob, me and Mick (this was the first time Mick had been on a ride with me) put about 8.5 miles in on the fantastic single track trails in the basin area.

Because of the glue-like mud that is found above the cayuse area, we avoid it by doing an out and back on Ten Jumps Trail from the bottom.  Rob commented on how different that trail is when heading south and up hill on it instead of bombing it to the north.

It was a nice ride once we got our bodies warmed up, and most importantly, everyone made it home without injury!

Mountain Biking Alone January 17, 2009

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Usually not such a good idea…..

But this morning I went out to ride all three legs of the Go! Off Road Duathlon that will be held on Brownlow Trails in Pioneer Park.  I rode very carefully because I was alone…no hucks or jumps today.

The first 1.5 mile running leg starts out on smooth fire road type trail then after about .6 it turns off onto a windy but fairly smooth single track that weaves and wanders its way back toward the TA.

After racer transition to the 8.1 mile mountain bike leg, they will spend just about 30 seconds on the fire roads, then turn onto single track for about a half mile, where they meet fire road width trail again.  The wide track is about 2 miles long before another section of narrow single track cuts across a hillside and back to the wide track where a pretty good climb begins.  Once riders reach the top, there is a fast descent with some surprizingly sharp turns, then another and steeper climb.  At the top of this climb, racers will go through a tunnel then follow the wide track around a roller coaster loop for another mile or so.  Near the bottom of a descent, there is a very sharp turn onto a mile of twisted and narrow single track that climbs and descends up and over 2 ridges before it takes riders through another tunnel.  With less than a mile to go, riders will traverse a hillside on a single track then join the wide track and head toward the TA.

After transitioning back to the last 2.2 mile running leg, racers will follow single track up a ridge then join the wide track trail for a while then back onto a fairly straight and fast single track.  When they hit the wide track again, they have less then a mile to go to the finish line!

Next time I ride it, I will take some photos to edit into this post.

Duathlon Course Map January 13, 2009

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I just finished mapping the course for the GORD in March.

The Pink route is the initial Trail Running leg of 1.5 miles.

The Blue is the next part of the course, the Mountain Biking leg 8.1 miles.

The Yellow is final Trail Running leg of 2.2 miles.

The course map for the Go! Off Road Duathlon

The course map for the Go! Off Road Duathlon

Pre-riding the GORD January 12, 2009

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I went out to Pioneer Park yesterday afternoon to pre-ride the mountain biking leg of the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon (GORD).  Ray came along to check out the course.  I don’t think I can get him to race, but he offered to volunteer.  Thanks Ray!

Almost all of the trails were in very good shape.  The one exception was the Legacy Trail, because someone had taken horses on it while it was still soft and damp.  There were big horse hoof holes (like the aliteration?) I guess I could have said huge horse hoof holes, that will turn into knarly little bumpies when they dry out.  Someone had been doing some erosion control on the trail though….Kudos to them!

Seven in Sedona January 11, 2009

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Seven of us drove over to Sedona today to do some mountain biking.  Just click on any of these images in the gallery to see them bigger.

The first photo is us at the trail head.  From left to right: Mike, Hal, Rob,Nate, Me, Kent, and Kevin.

We did just over 12 miles in what I would call near ideal conditions.  It was a little cool, but the ground was moist and tacky, and the sun was shining brightly on the gorgeous red rocks!

Thanks to Hal for coordinating this ride, and to Rob for leading it.

There were some pretty technical sections as you can see from the photos, but no one got hurt (too badly) and we all made it home alive.  We are going to try to ride over there more often, especially when it is too cold and muddy here in Prescott.

Biking Becomes Hiking December 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking, trails.
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In the cold and snowy parts of the year, mountain biking gives way to hiking for my adventure recreation.

Most of the trails that I ride for 10 months of the year are now covered in snow and ice.  This makes for poor mountain biking conditions (for me at least).

So, in order to get outside and make an attempt to stay in shape, hiking is the order of the day.  Well, that and riding the spin bike at home.

Even in the snow, most every trail around Prescott is still hiking friendly.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s not concentrate on them.

Within a 15 minute drive from downtown are miles and miles of great day hike trails.  And now with snow on the ground in the mountains, all the little creeks and drainages are running with crystal clear and icy cold water.  This makes for some great photographs and nice sound effects too.

So bundle up, put on your hiking shoes and get out there!  Its a winter wonderland.

Pedal ’till you Puke…..sort of December 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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-This post was written a couple of weeks ago, I guess I was just so out of it that I forgot to publish it-

I have been battling my first case of the flu in years the last few days, and it has been miserable!  But enough of that, lets get to the mountain biking.

On Monday afternoon, Steve and I arranged to meet up with Hal out on the trails.  Steve and I rode into The Pines up the Fireplace Springs Trail, then turned and went up Gulch Trail.  It had been a while since I have been on this trail, and I can tell you that it has become a rocky mess.  It has always been a tough climb, but now, it is brutal.  This would be a tough hike even without a bike! I really struggled.  We had to get off and push a few times.  We were going to meet with Hal at the top of it, but because it took us longer than we had planned, Hal was waiting about a quarter of the way down for us. He wasn’t just sitting there though, he was performing some much needed trail maintenance while he waited for us to struggle our way up to him.  The three of us finished the climb together to where it meets the White Rock (but now it’s green..?) Trail.

From there we headed west.  The afternoon was perfect, just a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky, and the sun falling sideways through the pine trees. We cranked all the way out to the rock that gives the trail it’s name.  At that point, Hal needed to head back, so Steve and I pedalled up Thumb Butte Rd. to FR51.  We took the first left and followed it down to Trail 326, then took the 392.  The 392 is part of the Circle Prescott Trail project, and is also the final descent on the famous Whiskey Off Road mountain bike event.  We bombed the 392, and shortly after it turns from single track switchbacks to meandering two-track, there was a big ponderosa down across it.  We were going so fast, that I barely managed to come to a stop in front of it.

Back at Thumb Butte Rd. we took the 332 back into The Pines.  Somewhere in there I got a text message, so I stopped to see what it was….it was my wife saying she was really sick and going to bed.  Uh-oh.  That might explain why I didn’t have much in the way of legs this afternoon. We made it to the Fireplace, and decided we had enough time to head back over the Boulders and down into the Meadow Trail.  When it hit the Waterline Road, we went up to a single track that headed north toward the Bobsled Trail, but on the way up that spotted another single track that was unknown to both of us.  We said, “Why not?” and headed down it.  It swooped and bent through the tall pines and was really a lot of fun, I will definitely try to ride it more often.  We came back out on the Waterline Road and then headed back down and out to the car.  We covered exactly 13 miles and had a great ride.

On the way home, I stopped and bought Tracie some chicken soup and Sprite.  By the time I got home, all the muscles in my body, but especially my hips were aching, and I thought to myself that though today’s ride had been tough, it hadn’t been hard enough to make me hurt all over……….well, an hour later I was driving the porcelain school bus.  The flu absolutely KO-ed both my wife and me for the next two days.  Good thing we had the chicken soup!

Mapping The Pines November 29, 2008

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Steve and I were joined by Keith today as we headed into The Pines for some mountain biking.

I had my GPSr on and set in track mode so that I could add to my growing library of trails that I am mapping in The Pines.

On our way up from The Fireplace, Steve spotted a herd of mule deer.  We watched them cross the hill next to the trail, and I was amazed because there were over 20 deer together in one herd.  I haven’t seen a herd of deer like that around Prescott in a very, very long time.  We rode up and stopped at the top of the hill, and watched them again, as they decided that we were not a big threat and sauntered away toward the creek.  What a lousy day to not have my camera with me!

A little further on, Steve was quite a ways ahead of me, and I was in turn, a ways ahead of Keith.  Steve stopped, and by the time I caught up to him, Keith was nowhere to be seen.  Steve went back down the trail to look for him, but had no luck….he must have headed back to his car.  Bummer.

Later, Hal called and said he was going to ride in and join us.  Steve and I headed up a trail I call The Outback to meet him.  Once we met up with Hal, the three of us rode a bunch of twisting little single tracks all over in the heart of The Pines.  The trail map that I am building is looking quite good lately.

By the time we were done today, we had done 11.5 miles through the tall ponderosa pine trees just outside of our lovely city of Prescott, Arizona…….what a great place to live.

A Fine Blend of Single Track, Sunshine, and Pine Trees November 22, 2008

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This afternoon Nate, Ken, Steve and I rode a bunch of obscure and little traveled single track in The Pines.  We weaved our way among the tall pines on some really cool sections of single track trails both above and below the old railroad grade.

We rode 10.3 miles, and I would guess that at least 4 miles was on trails that either I had never been on before, or that I haven’t been on in over a year.  The pace was easy and the conversation was all over the place.  The sun was shining and it was a glorious late November afternoon.

As Ken is so fond of saying, “We could have gone to the mall instead.”  It is really amazing what people miss out on when they think that a trip to the mall is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Working on the Chain Gang November 16, 2008

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Steve and I and a newcomer named John rode yesterday afternoon in The Pines.  I took my GPSr and tried to track our ride, but was not very successful, because I had the unit haning on my chest strap for the first half of the ride.  I guess my body kept it from picking up signals, because the first half of the ride only showed small pieces of the trail.  After I realized what the problem was and asked Steve to put it in my backpack, the rest of the ride tracked perfectly.   I guess I will be forced to go ride again……darn!

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

John is younger, stronger and obviously a little less sane than Steve and me, because he rode a fully rigid old school Surly bike.  At least it wasn’t a single speed.  He is a strong rider that we were obviously holding back. He climbed Dinner Hill without any problem, I spun out on pine needles, so Steve and I walked up the rest of the way.

At the beginning of the ride, John went over his handlebars, when he stood up to put the mustard to it his chain broke, and all that power sent him up and over.  We stopped and he repaired his chain, and then we rode the rest of  the way without incedent.

John fixes his chain while I stand there like a bump on a log

John fixes his chain while I stand there like a bump on a log

It always feels good to be able to end a day with an exhilirating ride through the trees.

Grinding it out at Granite Basin November 12, 2008

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This afternoon Ken, Michael, Rob, Steve and I went for a short ride that took plenty of effort.  We rode in Granite Basin and made loop of some of the trails as we started and ended at the dam.

There is not a lot to say about it other than we pounded the ups and completely bombed the downs!  I have never ridden 10-jumps as fast as I did today.  Rob was out front, with Steve and I right on his wheel….if either of them had eaten it, I would have had to ride right over them. Rob was giving me a hard time because I was breathing harder after the downhill than I had been at the top of the climbs.  Bombing is work I tell ya!

It was a great way to end the day, and to top it all off, on the way back into town I had another fantastic Prescott, Arizona sunset to look at in my rearview mirror.

Dinner Anyone? November 5, 2008

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This afternoon Steve, Ken, Hal, Micheal and I went for a ride in “The Pines.”

Steve led the ride because he wanted to show us a section of single track that the rest of us hadn’t been on before.  The temperature was cool, bordering on cold when we met at Iron Springs and Granite Basin Rd.

pre-ride
Hal, Ken, Me, Michael and Steve

We started out on the very rocky single track that heads up towards Fireplace Springs.  The creek crossings were dry and filled with very soft sand that for some reason I was having a particularly tough time with.  Ken thought it was because I had a big lunch that was weighing me down, of course he probably weighs about a buck thirty soaking wet….. We made it to the fireplace, then headed up and over the hill and back into The Pines.

Michael arrives at Fireplace Springs.
Michael arrives at Fireplace Springs.
Hal starts the climb out of Fireplace Springs
Hal starts the climb out of Fireplace Springs
Michael follows me up the trail
Michael follows me up the trail

We hit the single track that Steve was talking about, and he said that there was a steep section on it that if any of us could climb it, that Hal would have to buy us dinner……well, he was talking about food, so for me the challenge was on!

The guys ahead on the trail
The guys ahead on the trail

Steve was stopped near the top of the hill cheering Ken on when I got to it.  I shifted into granny and slid up on my seat and started cranking.  About halfway up it got really steep and the pine needles made it so my rear tire was just barely hanging on.  As I passed Steve I asked him if this was “dinner hill” to which he replied in the afirmative.  I somehow eeked it out and when I stopped found out the both Ken and Hal had cleaned it as well.  This is how trails get named…..from now on, this will be Dinner Hill Trail.

Ken, Michael, Steve and Hal at the top of "dinner hill"
Ken, Michael, Steve and Hal at the top of

We followed the trail for a few more minutes and then it dropped us out on the old railroad grade that the Forest Service has included in the Circle Prescott Trail and called Trail 332.  We followed the grade up to the trail that Hal calls Roller Coaster Trail for obvious reasons, it has great swooping downs and then fairly easy ups as the trail as a whole descends through The Pines.  About halfway down, Steve was out front followed closely by Ken then me when we came to section where there is a curve and a chord across that curve that has some pretty trick rocks in it.  Steve rode the curve and Ken and I took the chord.  Ken busted out right in front of Steve and I moved in behind Steve.  Ken was set up to take the left at the next fork when Steve hollered out to go right……what happened next would best be described by Steve because he was right behind Ken.  I saw some of it, but was screened out by bushes.  Evidently Ken did some acrobatic manouver up on only his front wheel or something……STEVE, please comment on this post with the full graphic description of Ken’s performance.

Now Steve was in the front again, then Ken, me, Hal and Michael.  Here is where it got crazy……the light was failing so the trail had no contrast to it, yet we were BOMBING down it like madmen.  Steve kept ringing his bell to alert anyone that might have been on the trail ahead (luckily for all of us there was no one).  I can tell you that 20mph on a mountain bike on winding single track in low light conditions feels like about 50mph!

When we stopped at the bottom, everyone was laughing and saying “that was awesome!.”  Yes, yes it was.

After the ride Steve, Michael, Hal, Ken and me.
After the ride Steve, Michael, Hal, Ken and me.

Good Granite and Poor Pivots November 2, 2008

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Sunday afternoon Paul and I rode in Granite Basin.  It was a perfect day for mountain biking, temperatures were in the 60’s, the sky was partly cloudy, and there was a light breeze.

We made 3 loops using almost all the trails that are actually in the basin.  On the trails we saw a few other mountain bikers, on girl on horseback, and a few hikers.

My rear derailleur is having a problem.  When I am really putting it to the pedals on an uphill, the chain jumps back and forth between second and third gear.  The LBS says it is because the pivots are worn out and there is too much play in them.  This really sucks, because that means that I will have to buy a new one.

stats:

  • total distance: 9.65 miles
  • total riding time:1hr 11min.
  • avg. speed: 8.0mph

Looking Forward to Sand Storm III October 17, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Tomorrow is the Sand Storm III Adventure Race near Tucson.

Produced by the guys at Monsoon Adventures, it looks like it will be another great race in an awesome venue.  We have learned that it will be held in the Chimney Rock area of Reddington Pass.  I have never been up there, but the topography looks like it should be a challenge.  Google Earth shows what appear to be a whole bunch of great single track trails, so I am definitely looking forward to the mountain biking.

Kent will not be racing with us this weekend, so team GO-AR will just be Jonea and me.  They don’t have a master’s division, so we will have to race against the young guns this weekend.  We are usually pretty strong in the navigation, so we are hoping that there will be tough enough navigation to help level the playing field a little.

Look forward to a race report!

Scott’s Torturous Ride October 6, 2008

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Today I picked up Scott at the White Spar trail head, where he left his truck so we could do an end to end ride.

We met Hal at the place where we park on Iron Springs to ride in “the pines”.  The three of us headed up into “the pines” and climbed up and through the tunnel then up onto the old railroad grade.  This part of the grade is now considered part of the planned Circle Prescott Trail.  That was our plan for this afternoon, to ride about a third of the CPT.

We left the grade as trail 332 headed south and over a hill then down into Fireplace Springs.  It’s called Fireplace Springs, because a large stone fireplace is all that is left of what once was a homestead along a small creek.  From there, we continued on 332 to the south.  The 332 is now a single track on what was once an old road, but the boulders that the Forest Service put in to narrow it as well as all the weeds that grew throughout our wet summer have successfully masked the road.  The 332 ends when it reaches Thumb Butte Rd.

From there we rode the 392 up a long canyon and then further up the switchbacks on the north face of a hillside where we could look out across all that we had traversed so far to see the afternoon sun reflecting off cars headed up Iron Springs road.  This is Scott on that section of trail.

At the junction where the 392 hits the 326,  Hal had to cut his ride short and head back toward his house, but we took this photo before he left.

Scott and I pressed on.  We took the 322 down some fun single track to the 51.  The 51 is a forest road, so it was relatively smooth compared to a lot of what we had been on so far, so we made pretty good time on it even though it was mostly uphill riding.  At the bottom of one of the short downhill sections it crossed a rocky wash, and as I went over the rocks, my front wheel kicked up a foot sized rock that went into my rear spokes and broke one of them out.  Bummer.  I twisted the broken spoke around another spoke, and vowed to take it easy on the back wheel the rest of the ride.  Before long, we came to the back of Camp Perlstein where the 393 takes off of the 51.  Scott and I plugged along up the switchbacks, and stopped for a CLIF bar and some water for a few minutes.  I took these photos on the 393.

We passed a couple of women walking their fluffy white dog at the top, and they couldn’t believe that we had started over on Iron Springs Rd.  We finished the descent to Copper Basin Rd. then took ( I should say hike-a-biked) the 48 up to the 9401L. This is me where when we could get back on and ride again.

We rode the old forest road that is now closed to motorized vehicles around the south side of Wolverton Mt. to the junction where we would head down the 9415 single track toward the “white spar” some people call quartz mountain.  Little do they know that this is where White Spar Rd. got its name.  This section of the CPT is pretty awful (so much for taking it easy on my rear wheel).  Lots of loose, scrabbly rock and pretty steep and narrow.  Scott did a great job coming down this section of the trail, as it is what I would call pretty technical riding.

After we went around the Spar, we only had the 9707V descent before we made it back to Scott’s truck.  We were like horses running for the barn as we bombed the 500′ drop in only a little over a mile on the rough and rocky forest road!

Just as we made it to the truck, I heard Scott say “oh, no!”  He had left the keys to his truck in my truck almost 16 miles behind us!  Dan-dan-dadah, Tracie to the rescue!  I called my wife, and she very kindly drove up to where my truck was and retrieved Scott’s keys, then drove all the way across town to deliver them.  What a gal!

What a ride!

stats:

  • distance: 15.6 miles
  • total riding time: 2hrs. 12 min.
  • avg. speed 7.0 mph
  • elevation gain 2368 feet

Broken Bike, I Don’t Like! September 7, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Friday afternoon the LBS called to say my bike was ready.  They had to replace all the bearings at all the pivots in the rear of the bike.  It is an FSR xcPRO with the horst link suspension, so it cost $150 in parts alone!

Saturday morning Kent and I took some local Boy Scouts and two adults out to do a few hours of trail maintanance.  This is a win-win, the scouts get service hours toward their next rank and the trails get some much needed upkeep.

After four hours of trail work, the Scouts headed back into Prescott.  Thanks Troop 1 Boy Scouts!

Kent and I had a sack lunch, then changed clothes and took our bikes off the rack…….it had been over two weeks since I had been on mine!  We usually ride in either the morning or the late afternoon, but this time the sun was straight over head, and HOT!  We put in 22 miles on a combination of dirt road, forest road, single track and double track.  During a long sustained climb, I noticed that my chain was jumping back and forth between gears on the cassette.  This really made it hard to keep a rhythm going, and I got pretty frustrated with it, especially since I just got my bike back!!

Sunday morning our Adventure Racing team mate, Jonea was going to ride road bikes with Kent and Bob, so I decided to tag along.  I am not much of a fan of road riding though.

We only did about 26 miles, but it involved some pretty good climbing, and after Saturdays mountain bike ride, I was a little sore.  On the way back in on our ride we went past my LBS and I noticed it was open, so I hurried home and got my FSR and took it over to them.

After an explanation of the trouble I had been having with it, they messed with it and came to the conclusion that the pivots on my derailleur are almost worn out, meaning that it wobbles back and forth making it hard to keep it on any one cog.  I have no idea if this it right or not, because working on bikes is something that I know almost nothing about.  Anyway, I told them to adjust it as best they could and I would try it again as soon as I was able to get away for another ride.  After spending as much with them as I did on Friday, I am not real keen on ponying up the cash for a new derailleur.

I am so tired of having bike woes!  And right now my legs are tire from all the riding the last two days.

Soggy Granite August 31, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, trails.
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I took a drive in my Jeep Cherokee today (my mountain bike is still in the shop) for some motorized adventure recreation.  We have had an above average monsoon this year, and I found that even the forest roads that are mainly DG (decomposed granite) were soggy and mushy.

Making ruts in forest roads is one of my pet peaves, so I opted to go to a place that was mostly DG.  Well, I found that what appeared on the surface to be mainly dry was in fact mushy.  So instead of spending a whole day out jeepin’ it, I called it quits after just a couple of hours for the sake of the roads.

The forests are filled with grasses, which should help the deer population around Prescott too.  This also means that many of the biking and hiking trails, especially the less traveled ones, are becoming overgrown.

Take note, I am not complaining, we need the moisture!

The monsoon should end in the next week or so, then maybe I can get a full day out in the mountains in the Cherokee.

Broken Spoken..I Ain’t Jokin’ August 10, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Saturday evening, Michael and I met Nate out at Granite Basin for a mountain bike ride.

Paradise in our own backyard

Paradise in our own backyard

We parked at the dirt road just below the cattle guard.  I like to ride from here, because you don’t have to start out with a long up hill, but instead, you get a nice downhill to warm up you body.  As we flew down the canyon trail my bike started making a weird noise (which I ignored because I was having too much fun on the swoops and rolls of trail 349).  When we got to the little saddle where we usually play the coasting game, Michael pointed out that I had a broken spoke on my rear wheel.  That explains the sound, my wheel was now WAY out of true.

We were now a long way from the vehicle, so I decided to just continue the ride and try not to taco my wheel.

Me riding on 349

Me riding on 349

At the bottom Michael and Nate went across “the middle” and I went around on the pavement to avoid riding the really rocky section with my bad wheel.  I took photos of them as they came down the other side.

Michael in the middle

Michael in the middle

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

We rode back up the 351 then started back down the LZ trail.  I decided I had pushed my luck on my screwed up wheel long enough, so I turned off at the campground trail while Nate and Michael continued another loop.  I waited for them at the pavement, then we rode up part of the 349 and back up to the cars.

Back at the vehicles

Back at the vehicles

Even though my bike is broken and will have to go see the LBS on Monday, it was another great day in mtb paradise…….to quote my buddy Ken, “We could have been at the mall instead!”

Finally! Back on the Bike! August 6, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking.
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Even as it sprinkled rain on me as I loaded my bike in the truck, I was giddy with anticipation.

It feels like forever since I have been out on my bike, and finally, finally, I get the chance again!

I met Ray, Rob, Michael, and Toby at Granite Basin Lake this evening.  It has rained the past few days, so we decided to stay on the DG.  On the way up trail 349, my legs felt both weak, and tight.  They were letting me know that I had neglected them.  After the initial 2 mile climb, my quads started to lighten up and have some fun. We went up, around, down, over and through….we rode all over the place in the short amount of time we had, but what a blast!

Most people only get to do see this kind of beauty and have this much fun on vacation!

stats:

  • distance: 10.95 miles
  • total riding time: 1hr 18min
  • avg. speed 8.4 mph

Granite Basin was Gorgeous Today July 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Ray and I were the only two to show up to ride this evening.  Maybe because today was so hot, maybe because people were on vacation….who knows?

We went up the 349 today.  This is a trail that I have ridden down about 98% of the time, and hardly ever gone up.  It was really beautiful today, plenty of shade and because we weren’t bombing down it (yet) we had plenty of time to see things that are usually just a blur.  There are some big old ponderosa pine trees in there!  On the way up, Ray and I were talking about Adventure Racing, and I told him about the Gilmore Adventure Race.  He thinks he wants to get a team into it this year!  I told him to hurry though, as it is almost sold out for 2008.

When we reached the pavement we went down the 351 (lots of fun) to the Cayuse area. Then we chugged up the hill to the 2 gates.  Luckily it was getting a little cooler by then.  We absolutely bombed the “10 jumps” trail today!  What a gas!  From there we headed back towards the 351 and down towards the lake.  Part way down there is a little social trail that cuts over to near the camp host’s spot.  We headed across it and then started our climb back up the 350.

The 350 is always a pleasure because it is a “no horses” trail, which means that it is not torn up by horse hooves, and is smooth as silk.  Ray was climbing like a mountain goat, and I could feel myself running low on fuel.  We took the turn onto the 349 heading west (today was the first time I have ever actually made that climbing turn without dabbing). As we topped out before the big downhill, we admired the view of Granite Mountain and figured that the mountain lions that live on it have it made.  What a great habitat.

Ray and I bombed the 349 all the way to where it comes up over a little saddle facing west again.  That has got to be one of the funnest rides around, swoopy, and narrow with lots of ways you could easily blow a turn and end up in the pine needles 50 down an embankment.

From there, we played Michaels “coasting game” again.  Ray made all the right turns this time, I guess I just forgot to tell him not to pedal until you come to a complete stop…..that is the point, to see how far you can coast.  Michael’s record still stands.  I had a real chance at it, as I was carrying lots of speed into the last corner, but I started to wash out and had to dab to save it, thus blowing my momentum.

From there, we just road the pavement back around to the cars.  Great ride today, thanks Ray!

Stats:

  • distance 10.49 miles
  • total riding time 1hr 8min
  • avg speed  9.2 mph

Pines to Boulders and Back Again July 2, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Our group plan was to meet for a mountain bike ride in “The Pines” today, and when we arrived there, the Prescott Cycling Club was also meeting there for a ride.  The parking area was full!  Our group of 6 decided not to horn in on the PCC ride, so we took off while they were still getting there gear together.  Michael, me, Tim, Rob, Toby and his roommate Steve headed out the Emanuel Pines road and then up the single tracks toward the old railroad grade.  After we climbed out into the borrow pit and onto the grade, another Steve (the hardcore variety) showed up, and the 7 of us continued up the grade to the 332.

When we got to the 332, Michael decided to head back down through “The Pines” and call it a day.  For various reasons he hasn’t been on his bike for nearly a month, and said it felt like it.  So the 6 of us rode on.  Where the trail bottoms out and crosses a creek, there is a gnarly, rocky, curvy, slippery climb that is almost impossible to clean.  In fact Rob tried it 5 times, each time getting progressively closer and closer but just couldn’t get it done.  No one did.  We stayed on the 332 all the way to where it meets the 346 and 347, then we took the 347 down into Granite Basin to the 348…lots of whoops and tons of fun!

We rode the 348 to the 351, then took a social trail over to the 350 and made the climb back up to the 349. Tim and I took the 349 east to another little social trail that runs south to the dirt road, while the other 4 guys took the 349 west about 50 yards to the dirt road then followed it south to where Tim and I came out.  Of course they beat us there, but we caught up with Steve (the roommate) right at the saddle and the 3 of us hammered it down the pavement back to the cars.  I topped out at 45 mph on the hill, with my eyes stinging and mouth grinning.

stats:

  • distance 11.63 miles
  • riding time 1 hr. 20 min.
  • avg speed 9.4 mph     (this is skewed due to the crazy paved downhill)

Mapping Trails in The Pines June 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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Kent and I rode this evening in “The Pines” see this post to know why I call it that.

It carried my GPS with me so I could track the trails we rode on.  We wandered all over the trails out there, and the way I figure it we probably tracked about half of what is there.  Now all I have to do is download the track to my topo program to see what we rode.    It was another perfect evening to ride, and we only saw one other person the whole time we were out there.  He was walking his dogs up one of the singletracks near the end of the ride.

The Pines is really a great place to ride, as it is so close to Prescott and has some very friendly and pretty singletrack.  It is also a good place to take shady day hikes in the warm summer months.

One section of singletrack in The Pines

  • distance 9.45 miles
  • riding time 1 hr 21 min.
  • avg. speed 6.9 mph

Saturday Morning Ride June 7, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Four of us went on a exploratory ride this morning up into some trails that were in an area that I have been in just a few times, but not enough to really know it.  Because we were exploring, we had no set route and just left it up to whoever was at the front at the time.  When we came to an intersection of trails, they just went whichever way they wanted, and the rest followed.

This was really a pretty neat way to spend a morning in the forest.  I am the kind of person that usually likes a plan, but this was a good change to that.

stats:

  • distance 8.0 miles
  • riding time 1hr. 4 min.
  • avg. speed  7.5 mph

Prescott Arizona Mountain Biking March 16, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, ar guide, Mountain Biking.
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There are literally hundreds of miles of mtb riding available just on the outskirts of Prescott.  And if you want a variety of difficulties, we have that too.  We have the easiest of easy in part of the rails-to-trails project called the Peavine Trail. We also have a multitude of forest roads, rowdy rock gardens, superfast singletrack, and more.  Prescott will soon host the Whiskey Off Road, a ride that offers riders a sampler of what we have in the ways of trails.  As a guide, I make it my business to get out and ride as many trails as possible.  See you on the trails!